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Barry Burton Theme:

December, 2004

    Tonight marks a time honored tradition in Raccoon City as The Raccoon City Police Department puts on its annual Holiday Charity Ball. Traditionally hosted by the Chief of Police of the RPD, Brian Irons, its resident chief, has seen to the necessary arrangements to make this year's festivities one of the best one's yet. Irons, who is not known for his public demeanor, appears uncharacteristically committed to fulfilling this promise as a portion of Uptown Raccoon City has been blocked off for the upcoming event at The Arklay Inn.
    The Arklay Inn is one of the oldest yet elegant buildings within the city, making it an icon of sorts that carries a great deal of Raccoon's history within it. Crafted before the establishment of St-Michael Clock Tower, the Arklay Inn sits on southwestern part of Uptown, with the remainder of the city has built around it. The Inn has been home to some of Raccoon's most historic events, including the hosting of present mayor, Michael Warren's numerous celebrations and landslide election back in 1987. In fact, it was Mayor Warren who convinced the RPD to re-vitalize this event and make it an annual tradition.
    However, while The Arklay Inn has its time with joyous occasions, the lavish hotel has had its own yet unconfirmed dark past. A long standing urban legend with the hotel was regarding a fire in an inaccessible part of the hotel that claimed the lives of individuals on Christmas, particularly a number children who fell victim. The rumor continues that the souls of the children still continue to haunt the hotel to this day, particularly around the christmas time. Subtle voices are rumored to be heard, whispering into the ears of guests, "Merry Christmas." and finishing with a fading childlike laugh.
    This myth is claimed to be have been officially de-bunked by the hotel but still the story has been an intriguing one that has often brought guests in search its truth. Could there be some truth to it?
    The hotel has been decorated with luxurious Christmas decorations: colorful lights, musical themes, and of course, snow. A large park was erected to the north of the hotel, where a towering Colorado Blue Spruce stands tall and decorated in equally extravagant fashion. A gentle layer of snow decorates the surrounding grounds, which is only complimented by The Inn itself. Members of the RPD do patrol the event grounds, but those individuals in attendance marvel and take in the sights as they proceed to the hotel proper for the event.
    Inside, the hotel has equally given a loving christmas touch. Guests are asked to show their invitations or tickets before being lead to a massive ballroom that has been made into a winter wonderland. Red and White tapestries line the ceilings above, some extending to the ground from above. A light dusting of fake snow glistens among the various lights around the room. Tables line around the room for guests, while a large dance floor remains open in the center of the room. On the ends of the ballroom, a lavish arrangement of holiday sweets and drinks line, including beautiful chocolate fountains and hot cocoa to boot. A bar sits at one end of the room, ready to serve its guests with a holiday assortment of adult beverages, while servers and waitresses dressed as Santa's elves roam the room ready to help where they can.
    One of the most interesting attractions however, is a well decorated christmas tree in another corner of the room. Under the tree is filled to the brim with presents for the young and adult a like. A large red carpet runs up to a set of stairs that leads up to chair where, jolly ol' St. Nick sits comfortably, awaiting the next one to come and tell him what they want for Christmas before receiving a gift from Santa himself.
    However, upon close inspection, Santa might look a little familiar to some. Who could it be, one might wonder?
Erica     She doesn't have a lot of money to go around. Still, she has a wonderful pair of boots with very high heels just laying around! Bonus points: She got a ticket from someone who couldn't get away. So what's a girl to do with tickets, pretty black boots, and nothing fancy to wear? Put a dress on her charge card, tug the tag in, throw a wrap over it, and resolve to return it in the morning.
    Of course, as she never goes out for the most part, she spends a good three hours putting makeup on, taking it off, styling her hair, going back to basics. Posing. Twisting. Turning. Taking about a hundred photos with her digital camera in the mirror that she will never print out. Hiding in her room and resolving not to go. Then talking herself into leaving. About four or five times. Twenty minutes to practice her very best fancy lady voice. Abandoning it.
    Finally, though, she makes it into the hotel. A nice dark blue wrap to cover those shoulders she's so sensitive about. A sleeveless black number (not that one would know with the wrap). A black choker of some sort, and painstakingly drawn makeup... All ready, and once inside, she does what any number of wallflowers tend to do. Grab a cup of hot cocoa. And hang out near the bar and look down into it as if it carries the weight of years of metaphysics and the secrets of the universe.
Prestige William Caldwell Arriving to the scene in a nice looking tuxedo is a new recruit to the STARS department. That being a giant man known as William Caldwell. Before all this he was just an average RPD cop who was known around town for being a freindly folk. He arrives to the scene with not much more then a smile on his face and WAY too much colonge on. He slowly moves his way towards the back of the crowd and slowly makes his way to get a snack and a drink, mostly chips and a soda. Then remaining quiet in a corner. He didn't know what to do in formal events!
Trixie Trixie pauses to show the doorman her invitation and her second most brilliant smile, before following her guide to the ballroom. She swallows her nervousness at the sight of the fully-decorated ballroom and puts on a brave smile. The last time she'd been here, she'd been on her father's arm, her mother's funeral barely past. Big Mick Mackenzie believed in getting right back on the horse if you fell off, and she had reluctantly accompanied him to the ball. Everyone's condolences and sympathy has been palpable, and in the end she hadn't regretted going.
Only nine months ago, her father was laid to rest beside her mother. And for the first time, she is here on her own credentials, the next Mackenzie to wear the badge. It was a lot easier to take that first step onto the dance floor on her father's arm, she thinks. But take it she does, because she's a Mackenzie. And, as of a week ago, a S.T.A.R.S. member.
"Maybe I overdid it," she murmurs, looking down at her sequined blue evening gown as she crosses to the bar, managing not to wobble on her high heels. The sight of Santa brings a smile to her lips, however faint. She really should've expected the jolly old elf to be there. Why would this year be any different?
Hunni      Hunni didn't generally tend to be concidered the most social of STARS officers, the newer markswoman having only transfered into the unit a few months ago...but she was trying.

     While she too wasn't exactly rolling in money, she'd put quite a lot of effort into her attire. A strappless floor-length dark green number on her form and a silver necklace with a small charm around her neck. Pinning back her hair in a complex and rather exotic-looking bun her own preparation was probably still comparatively shorter given the lack of photography. Without her partner on her arm, the asian woman strides through the door, her eyes sweeping over the setting and bringing the smallest hint of a smile to her lips.

     It -was- christmas, and she wasn't made of stone.
Albert Wesker While some may be uncomfortable in the finery and formality of the affair, others take to it like a fish to water. Resplendent in a well-fitted black tuxedo and supple leather shoes, one such partygoer is Albert Wesker, seemingly at ease in the ensemble of black over a cerulean vest, stark white shirt, and sleek silver tie. The S.T.A.R.S. Captain mills from taking several moments outside to warm himself once more, plucking a long-stemmed glass from a tray as he passes a server, offering a smile and a nod before sipping the bubbly concoction within and continuing on his way, his gaze milling with leisurely alertness over the decor and the guests nearby.

A simple, silver band and matching watch serve as extra adornment, the ensemble only subtly diminished by the miniaturized police radio fitted in one of Wesker's ears, keeping it, proverbially and in matter of fact, on the police business surrounding the ball. As is joked around the office: He's always on duty.
Barry Burton     As the guests all begin to gather into the ballroom, settling in with the various festivities, a sense of Christmas and Holiday cheer seems to permeate throughout the room.
    The newcomer to the world of fancy parties, Erica appears to hold herself rather uncomfortably near the bar, seeming to keep to herself. However, others do take notice of her. The Bartender makes his way over to the end where Erica resides, wiping down the counters as he approaches, inquiring to the young woman, "You know, its unnatural for a young woman to not carry some conversation at one of these events. Are you new to Raccoon?"
    As William strolls in and stays to the side, the young man feels a bit of a cold breeze come past his shoulders, much colder than what the room might believe it to be.
    A small child in an elf's costume comes up to Trixie as the young woman appears to be glancing around the room. With a bright smile upon his face, he manages to murmur quietly, "Umm.. Excuse me, miss.", and then after a few short moments pass, he shyly brings his hand up and there lies a a small present, "A present for the pretty officer."
    The Sniper of STARS manages to catch the eye of a few on-lookers. Some bidding her a smile, others a nod, obviously curious how a woman such as she came stag to this event.
    Meanwhile, the ever-alert and on-duty, Albert Wesker soon finds a transmission coming his way:

    "Sir, the Chief and his guest are soon to take the center floor. Just keeping you up to date on the situation."

Barry Burton     Guests continue to mingle as the holiday music continues to play though following a short while, a older, gruff, and stocky man comes out to the center of the dance floor, preparing to address the crowd proper. Many residents would recognize this man as Chief of Police, Brian Irons.
    At the gruff man's side, a beautiful and youthful woman approaches with him. She parts strands of her platinum blonde hair from in front of her delicate facial features before glancing up to address the crowd with a smile. She is dressed in a silver evening gown that glistens lightly from the lights around her.
    Chief Irons clears his throat and then begins to speak into the microphone, trying to act as cheerful as the ol' scrooge can, "Excuse me, everyone. If I can have your attention please."
    The crowd begins to glance in Beverly and Irons' direction as the music slowly fades out, giving the stage to the pair in the center of the room, "Welcome everyone to the annual charity and Holiday Ball of the Raccoon City Police Department. For those who may not know me, I am Brian Irons, Chief of Police for the RPD. It is truly something to behold and see the number of you who come out to celebrate and help bring this event to life. Tonight, we have a number of things we would like to make known. First off, I would like to address that your contributions in attending this event have been some of the best yet and all of these charitable funds go to helping your men and women in uniform to better protect our fair city. For that, you have my thanks."
    The young woman then takes her turn on the stage, "and you have our gratitude as well. My name is Beverly Warren. Unfortunately, my father, the Mayor, could not be here this evening. So, I have come in his place to pay homage to each of you who have decided to so generously assist the RPD during this time. So tonight, remember it is about you as much as it is about our officers. Thank you."
    Irons continues, "As Beverly stated, tonight remains to be as much about you, our gracious and generous citizens. Tonight, we recognize some of new recruits who will be graduating our academy and joining the force this coming spring. There will be a silent auction that will be going on in another part of the hotel should you wish to join in that as well."
    Beverly moves to complete the pair's shared speech, "Finally, in the spirit of giving, we encourage each of you. Child in age or in heart to visit Santa Claus, who has so generously come to grace us with his presence in the spirit of Christmas."
    Santa Claus stands from his chair and with a rumble of his belly, gives a rounding, "HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas.", and waves to the crowd. Oddly, red and green combat boots aren't usually among his usual attire.
    Beverly smiles and continues, "Thank you, St. Nick. With that said, please enjoy the rest of the evening, have fun, and thank each of you for coming."
Erica     Oh crap! Someone's addressing her- Oh. Someone else in the service industry. Like a brother, sort of. Or, based on his tone, a father figure? Unthinkable that someone would see her as, gasp, just another person,"Usually at these functions, I'm standing where you are." She smiles sheepishly at the Bartender, face suffused with a blush,"A counter between me and other people is like armor. I'm... I've been here a while, but I don't really go out, ever. Shy. You?" And for... other reasons.
    She snatches a candy cane up, and stirs it in her hot cocoa for the sole purpose of occupying both her hands instead of fluttering them around. Oh, hey look, it's a person she sort of met briefly, once. She waves her Candy Cane in Trixie's direction, and then offers small smile to her. The woman looks almost as uncomfortable as her,"That's adorable." Using her candy cane to indicate Trixie to the bartender, she explains.
    "One of my customers. She totally makes me jealous of her figure, but she's supposed to be like, police special forces or something." A pause. "She was worried about passing her test, but she DID teach me her exercise routine, so... I'm totally stoked for her right now. She likes hot chocolate if I remember right. I'm glad she's here. I was worried she'd spend Christmas alone. It's been a rough year for her, I think. What about you Mr... I hope your Holiday's going according to plan?"
    Is this how fancy people talk? At least she's keeping the deeper burr and southern twang out of her voice.
Prestige William Caldwell OHGODWHATWASTHAT is Caldwells first reaction to when someone whispers to him. It sounded like a child, there were plenty of children around though, so certainly one was playing a prank on him...right? Oh god he hopes so. He proceeds to shakily drink his soda and look around nervously..Keep calm and carry on. That was a saying, right? He observes the ballroom floor in front of him. Nobody else heard it, maybe he was just imaginging things? Surely that was just stories getting to his head. He wouldn't let his fear control him though. But still..he had no idea where to go or who to talk to. So he decides to go visit SANTA CLAAAAAWS. He approaches the burly man and turns red, clearly thinking he was too old for this. Waiting his turn before speaking to the burly man.
Trixie Trixie looks down at the unexpected voice, then smiles warmly at the little elf. It's a sincere smile, devoid of the plastic of social smiles in some circles. "Thank you so much. It's so sweet of you," she replies, touched by the gesture, be it part of the program or not. She gently takes the package from him as she asks, "What's your name?"
Out of the corner of her eye she picks out Erica's waved cancy cane. She smiles and offers a fingertip wave to the taller woman in return, making an inward promise to talk to her in just a minute.
     A switch of attention, Hunni makes a beeline for the drinks. She's no alcoholic, but a little social lubricant never really hurt anyone in moderation. Seemingly oblivious to the eyes upon her she instead cast her gaze towards the captain of the unit, offering him a little nod of greeting. She doesn't seem in a great hurry to strike up conversation with anyone...but he was her boss.
Albert Wesker Wesker starts off to one side of the ballroom as the mayor's daughter and the RPD's illustrious chief make their address. He toasts at an appropriate moment or two, but otherwise pays only cursory attention, exchanging pleasantries off and on with passers by and acquaintances as he continues along a slow circuit of the room. There are a number of new additions to his unit of late, and many of them are already present-- it's Hunni who draws Wesker's attention first, due largely to her own greeting and position along his path.

A firm hand is offered over for a shake as he finalizes his approach, "Officer Izumiya, wasn't it? Welcome to S.T.A.R.S.." A sip is savored from his bubbly, and a dramatized glance indicates the rest of the room, "The hardest assignment we get-- the glitterati and their charity." The quip is offered low, conspiratorially, with half a wry smirk. It's like squeezing blood from a turnip.
Barry Burton     Following their welcoming speech, the two part from the dance floor and begin to mingle amongst the other guests.
    Irons appears to be making his way as quickly as possible through those attempting to address him but politely does his best to keep up appearances.
    Meanwhile, Beverly is taking her time and enjoying the conversation with those who come up to her, appearing to be much more approachable then her supposed 'date'.
    The Bartender keeps an open ear as he continues to perform his duties, making drinks while he listens to the fellow member of the service industry, but making no comments just yet. He glances over to where Erica is pointing towards Trixie, blinking for a moment and then turning to the young woman with a look of confusion for a moment but continuing to simply listen as she discusses the officer in more detail. Nevertheless, he continues to smile, "Sounds like you are either quite attentive to your customers or perhaps a tad attached maybe? Still, perhaps we all need an ear to listen to. The Holiday's can be rough, after all."
    The Bartender reaches across with a small shot glass in hand, placing it neatly before Erica, "The name is Charles and things are well for me. I appreciate you asking so here's a small token on the house.", the shot gives off a cool and pepperminty smell to it. Maybe something to take straight or perhaps add to your drink?
    The young boy smiles a bit and comments quietly, "You're welcome, miss. My name is Gary.", then as Trixie turns her head a whisper is made to her and as she turns back, there is no one there.
    However, the present is left in her hand, wrapped in a beautiful emerald wrapping paper and a ruby bow to boot.
    Caldwell appears to have been taken a bit off guard by whatever scared him out of his willies. What could it have been?
    The Officer decides to make his way over to Santa himself after regaining his composure and obviously doesn't take too long. As he approaches, the Santa offers him a smile and even a bit of a grin, motioning the man forward, "Ho Ho Ho! Young man, what would you like for Christmas?", there is a bit of a gruff and yet tone in the man's voice.
    Irons makes his way out from the crowds and begins making his way towards Wesker. The gruff ol' man doesn't make any commentary upon approach but does pull a flask from his jacket, only watching as Hunni and Wesker converse for a moment. Obviously, the chief needs a minute to compose himself as well.
Prestige William Caldwell William shivers again, clasping his hands together and looking rather nervous, whether it was from the santa visit or something else it was unknown. He steps forward and offers a faint smile to the Santa "Hello Santa. I don't want much for christmas, just the ability to be a productive member of STARS and to help people the best I can. Can christmas magic do that for me?" he wasn't sure how the whole christmas magic thing worked, though he was sure if anyone could do it it was SANTA. He takes a brief look around again, surely someone was messing with him at this point..or maybe it was just a child nearby laughing at a funny joke. Whatever it was, it was spooking the hell out of the young giant.
Erica     The girl smiles a little bit as her wave is acknowledged. "Very attentive, Charles. Or... I try, anyway. I don't really... do a lot of interacting outside my job. So... I try to make it count when I'm at work. Besides... I like to think most people are more alike than they are different. And it's hard not to feel for someone else when you're both supposed to be alone on Christmas."
    As for the 'token'? She tips it into her cocoa and winks at the man. "You're awesome. I won't say no, but you didn't have to do that. Stop by Waffle House sometime. You like steak? Coffee? So what do you think of our... ah... 'glorious leader', huh? You vote for him?"
    She watches Will's interaction with Santa, and drinks a long slug of her coca for a moment, before intimating to him,"I should probably go talk to the jolly guy over there. I promised myself I would talk to people today. You want me to ask him for anything for you since you're kinda stuck back there?" A playful smile rolls over her lips.
Trixie Trixie blinks as young Gary seems to have vanished the second she looked away. "Little elves are getting quicker these days, that's for sure," she murmurs, starting toward the bar, glancing over at Beverley meet 'n greeting among the crowd. "Wonder why her father couldn't make it? And how she gets her hair so shiny and smooth..."
She smiles at Erica as she approaches the bar. "Hello, Erica! Didn't expect to see you here, but I'm glad you came, all the same," she says warmly, bringing the tiny present around and setting it on the bar. "And look what that darling little boy gave me! I hadn't known they were passing out presents like this on the floor. I wonder what it is?"
She begins to carefully unwrap the package...
Hunni Hunni chuckles a litle, nodding her head. "It never was my strong suit Captain Wesker," she says with a shrug of her shoulders. Her eyes flick to Irons, keenly aware of -that- set of eyes on her but seemingly little others. "But this is a full-spectrum job, no?"
Albert Wesker It's a heartwarming Christmas special-- Erica and the barkeep bond, William wishes to be a more productive and uplifting member of society, and Trixie gathers a gift from a mysterious elf. Why, there's even the ethereal chatter of joyful children on the breeze, if Caldwell's disconcerting moment is to be believed. "So they keep telling me." Wesker quips once more, dryly, as he follows Hunni's eyes to the Chief, nodding a greeting to the older man. "Chief." The S.T.A.R.S. Commander greets, forestalling his circuit of the new recruits to offer that practiced handshake to Irons. "Merry Christmas, fine speech. How's Beverly? You know officer Izumiya, one of the new S.T.A.R.S.."
Barry Burton     Santa Claus listens intently to William's request and then looks up, pondering as he strokes his large white beard for a few moments before re-addressing the young officer. He sighs for a moment which then turns to a small smile, "I imagine that all depends on how you decide to compose yourself and act as one of the best of the best. Take the initiative, be studious, and do your best.", then he crinkles his nose a bit before finishing, "Nevertheless, I think I know a person or two I could put in a good word with as well. Stay vigilant, Officer Caldwell.", which he offers a wink. He grabs a gift from under the tree and hands it to the officer and smiles once more, "Merry Christmas, William.
    Charles nods to Erica as continues to speak, "Indeed. It is quite difficult to be alone during the holidays.", then when she offers for him for a drop at the Waffle House he smiles at her offer, ".. I may take you up on that one day, miss.", then he turns back to the question inquired of him, "Actually, I did though that was a long time ago."
    As Erica decides to take opportunity to mingle, Charles smiles once again and shakes his head, "I appreciate the gesture though, I imagine he already knows. Thank you though, miss. Have a pleasant rest of your evening."
    As Trixie unwraps her small present, inside there resides a small note that has been neatly folded with great care.
    Irons approaches and makes exchanging nods between Wesker and Hunni, "Thank you, Wesker.."
    Irons carries an air of irritability about him, obviously perturbed about something but trying not to let it show. However, upon the mention of Beverly, Irons glances over for a moment towards the young woman, sighing lightly before addressing Wesker, "She seems to be doing just fine by the looks of things. Another one of The Mayor's little publicity stunts it seems, especially since he can't be here.", obviously the chief didn't have much tact when it came to talking aloud about things that were on his mind. He turns to Hunni and nods to her, "Officer Izumiya, Welcome to the RPD and S.T.A.R.S. Wesker has reported good things to me about you, particularly your marksmanship. I hope you can keep up with Redfield, give that boy a run for his money."
    Irons turns to Wesker, offering him his microphone, "Speaking of which, probably should get on with the other half of all this shouldn't we, Captain?", inquiring about Wesker's part in all of this.
Erica     "Sorry. It's Erica. I don't much care for the man, but he's keeping this city running. It's hard to be at the top, right? Easy to criticize from the bottom. Do take me up on it. I look forward to it." She does pause to drop a tip for the jar if there is one, low on cash as she might be.
    Trixie gets a smile as she gestures the woman along,"I didn't expect to be here, but someone had a ticket they couldn't use, and I always stay home, so... I decided not to. Come on, let's go see Santa. You can wish for a... Well, hell, I don't know what you'd wish for, but it's a party and I guess that's what you do here."
    She does peer over to peek into Trixie's little box, a smile painting her face. "I bet the kid had a little crush on you. Is that a note? What's it say? Why did you come alone? Place like this, a girl like you? You're practically chum in the water for all the single dudes." She sips her coca and smiles at the alcoholic twinge of it. "That bartender is AWESOME."
Trixie "Santa? Sure, why not? Maybe I'll wish for that pony I wanted back in fifth grade." Trixie smiles to Erica, carefully unfolding the note. "Maybe, but this is all so precisely done... doesn't seem like something such a small child could do all on his own. Still, it's too cute to ignore."
She shrugs at the question of coming solo. "I didn't really think about it, honestly. I almost didn't come, but in the end it seemed like something I needed to do. Besides, I had a prom dress I never got to use, and it was much too good to waste. Though I think I might've overdone the glitz a little by wearing it..." she muses, looking at the note.
Prestige William Caldwell Caldwell nods to OFFICER SANTA. "Yes, sir. I'll do my best." he looks down at the present and slowly grabs hold of it. He gives Santa a smile and nods again "Thank you sir. Merry Christmas." and with that he walks off. The eerie noises he'd been hearing earlier have since gone away. Was it the holiday cheer keeping the ghoulish ghosties away...or were they plotting something more sinister for the already spooked man? Caldwell shakes his head at that thought, surely there were no such thing as ghosts, right? Someone was playing a prank on him. That thought has been going through his head all night and slowly but surely he was beginning to think such was not the case. Why could nobody else hear the laughter or the whispering if that was the case? Was it because it was too crowded? Or because the ghosts were targetting him?
Hunni      "Thank you sir," Hunni nods, sipping her drink as she answers Irons. "I'll certainly do my best." She hadn't came to STARS to steal anyone's thunder, but who doesn't like a little praise here and there? Her eyes drift around the room once more, a habit of caution more then anything but still bringing a smile to her lips at some of the antics abound. Attention drifts back to her immediate companions and she shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I've yet to come across Officer Redfield in the range, but I look forward to it."
Albert Wesker "All any of us can do." Wesker punctuates humbly to Hunni's observations, and nods to the chief, accepting the mic. "Was just waiting for my cue." In contrast to the Chief's cantankerous nature, Wesker's is gracefully relaxed, and he politely takes his leave from the pair to weave his way back towards the center of the floor, and the center of attention. "Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention for a moment..." There's a pause graciously accomodating a moment to do just that.

"Thank you all for coming out on this joyous occasion to share the true spirit of the Holidays with the citizenry of Raccoon City-- the spirit of giving back, of service to all, of support for Raccoon's civil servants in the RPD. As most of you know, I'm Captain Albert Wesker, of S.T.A.R.S., and I've been honored with the opportunity to congratulate one of the greatest graduating classes in our academy's history." Wesker begins with the RPD names, "Angela Adams... Frank Baker... Robert Dekker... Leonard Gladwell.... Leon Kennedy...."

Each name comes with a pause long enough to present graduating cadets who are present with a finely calligraphed certificate and shiny new badge; a similar stack sits on a nearby table for the next list, alongside highly polished, hardwood cases that some would recognize as properly built to house a pistol in luxury. "These people are the future of Raccoon City, and also tonight we honor a unprecedented number of elite recruits into your city's S.T.A.R.S. unit..."
Barry Burton     The pair of Erica and Trixie both begin to make their way towards Santa's chair, only a few people behind the big man. The jolly fellow takes his time with the children and parents who come to visit him at the party, so it takes a few minutes. Eventually, the pair finally come to reach the Jolly Big Man In Red, who motions them up to him together, inquiring the following, "Ho ho ho! Good evening, ladies. What would you both like for Christmas?"
    As Caldwell continues to fret about his little misadventures, its obvious the young man appears to be quite distracted with the way things are going. So much so that he appears to lose track of where he's going and..


    It seems the young officer has managed to find himself bumping into another, this one carrying a much more effeminate voice than the last two voices he's been privy too.
    The officer and a lady both find themselves on the floor for a moment, who just happens to be Beverly Warren, who appears to be just as oblivious about the situation as the one who she ran into. She groans a bit and rubs her head gently with a slight sounding, "Ouch."
    Irons turns back to Hunni and scoffing a bit, "Well, we'll certainly see. That's for sure.", his tone less than enthusiastic about the rookie's chances.
    Irons takes a moment to watch Wesker turn around to perform. It was one thing The Chief always liked about The Captain, he was all about getting down to business. He smiles wryly for a moment and just watches as he announces the new RPD recruits and lines up for the new STARS recruits.

    As Wesker makes his announcement, the music quiets once more and the crowd turns to address the STARS Commander, listening intently to what he has to address. As each of the newly graduating officers coming from the academy are brought forward, the audience graciously applauds as Captain Wesker announces their names.
Erica The girl follows Trixie up to Santa, her cocoa still in hand, and offers,"Is peace on earth and good will towards all still taken?" She nudges Trixie then,"Well, at least some though went into it. What do you want? I bet you're going to get that shiny new badge you wanted anyway." A pause follows as she turns to watch Wesker's announcement, clapping from the sidelines at the appropriate moment before she turns to Trixie with a wave,"I'll see you. I'm hitting the bathroom."
Trixie Trixie grins at Erica's comment, nodding. "I'm glad. The ink's not even dry on my acceptance letter," she says. "Don't take too long, now!"
She manages a smile for the jolly old elf that isn't awkward or nervous. So many possibilities... "Nothing and no one can give me what I want most of all, Santa... but I do want to make them proud of me. And I want to know what kind of boots those are, too, and where you found them... I could use some for field ops," she adds, with a smile. "Oh, and this." With that, she passes over the little note.
Captain Wesker's speech gets her attention, and she looks that way. "I may have to get back to you about that note, Santa... I'm really sorry to chat and run, but I may be needed over there."
Jill Valentine Jill is seated at one of the tables near the stage Wesker is on with Chris Redfield, Edward Dewey, Brad Vickers, and Kenneth Sullivan. The five of them appear to be chatting back and forth in animated fashion before their glasses raise in a toast.

Since it's a big party and there's lots going on, it's not like their conversation or words are carrying. Maybe they were just toasting the new recruits to S.T.A.R.S. or something.
Hunni      Irons doubt doesn't escape Hunni's notice, but her reaction? She just shrugs her shoulders lightly. She'd give it a try regardless, and she'd much rather face Chris in a test of marksmanship then strength. The guy looks like he could punch a boulder!

     The asian woman in the green gown sips her drink lightly, absently brushing one stray bang of her deep black hair to tuck behind her ear while she listens to the Captain's speech.
Prestige William Caldwell William manages to slam into Beverly Warren, stumbling backwards and nearly falling. Watching the woman fall with a look of horror on his face "I am../SO/ sorry, Miss Warren. Please please pleaseplease forgive me!" the last two pleases were strung together nearly at once, a babble of word soup it seems. He tries to help her to her feet, continuing to apologise. After trying to help he takes a deep breath "Sorry again, I am just..thinking about things. Completely forgot where I was going."
Albert Wesker The procession of recently graduated or graduating RPD cadets takes some time to finish off, each given a handshake and a few encouraging words from the Commander as they pass before the ballroom to respectful applause (and a few hoots here and there from their closer fellows). "It's difficult to overstate the vital role the RPD plays in keeping Raccoon City safe. As you all know, within that august organization there stands a breed of officer above and beyond the rank and file, there as first responders, on the front lines of the most dangerous situations that may face the citizens of Raccoon City-- I speak, of course, of S.T.A.R.S.."

Wesker pauses to sip his drink after a toast with a flourish. "It is my esteemed honor, once more, to recognize the officers being brought into the Special Tactics and Rescue Service. Exemplars within the RPD, or experts from other forces, these are vanguard that defends our fair city's peace and prosperity. Please join me in welcoming to S.T.A.R.S. Officers Trixie Alexandra.... William Caldwell.... Rebecca Chambers.... Hunori Izumiya...." Each S.T.A.R.S. rookie is also presented with certification and badge as they approach to shake Wesker's hand and accept the adulation of the crowd-- and also one of those hardwood cases, each containing a freshly minted M92F Samurai Edge.
Barry Burton     Santa simply looks on as Erica rather erratically mumbles on quickly to Trixie and vanishes just as quickly. A very strange one that new waitress from the Waffle House.
    Santa turns his attention to Trixie who remains before him, offering the girl the same smile as before, listening to her as she speaks. Seeing the note provided to him by the young officer, the man in red takes a moment to review the note but like her friend before her, it appears Trixie takes off just as quickly to attend what might a pretty pivotal moment in the event. Santa looks over at one of his helpers and asks, "Do you know anything about this?"
    An elf looks it over and nods, "I think its referring to one of the gifts from the lobby. I'll grab it and deliver it.", then proceeds with the note else where.
    The group of elder S.T.A.R.S certainly have been able to keep themselves hidden away from the group but congratulating their brethren from afar.. Well, it looks like all the older gang is here but where the hell is Barry?! Probably off eating a sandwich at the food table or something.
    As for the moment, There remains no further reactions from Irons. He is simply continuing to listen to Wesker's speech.
    Beverly scratches her head and then looks onto William as he desperately tries to apologize. She chuckles lightly and waves him off for a moment, obviously a tad embarrassed herself. She takes his hand and rises to her feet, "Thank you though I think the blame is both of ours to share. I too got a bit caught up in the moment but I appreciate you helping me to my feet.." then she sees what looks to be a a STARS pin, "Officer.. ?"
    However, as Wesker continues to announce the STARS members, Beverly glances between the announcement and then back to Caldwell, following with a smile, "Well then officer, best take your place on stage.", motioning him through.

    Beverly, Irons, and the remainder of the crowd take the opportunity to fiercely applaud as the announcement is made, waiting for the STARS recruits to take their place on stage.
Trixie Trixie hastens to the stage, managing to get there just behind William Caldwell and Hunni. She gives each a nervous smile, waiting her turn and hoping she doesn't break a heel or something when her turn comes up.
Fortunately, she's lucky enough to make it onto the stage without fumbling. Which is good, because she almost misses her cue. Blushing, she walks out to accept the awards of her new position, leaning in to whisper something to Captain Wesker.
Rebecca Chambers Becca had her best bling on. Yes - she was wearing her dress uniform, and of course Rebecca took the time to make it spiff and shine - a glare so sharp on her black boots that it could probably down a passing aircraft. White gloves spotless and clean, and her top covered with a white blouse and black bowtie - even if her jacket was bereft of any medals that the elder officers might have.

Beyond the S.T.A.R.S. on her shoulder. That was important, right?

When it was Becca's turn to reach the stage, she walks up, her eyes shining nearly as bright as her boots - and accepts the box, glancing up towards Wesker for a moment with a toothy smile - waving to the crowd as she steps off the stage to the adulation and fervor of those watching. She was looking at Jill in particular.

Reaching the spot where the recruits stand after accepting the box, she leans over towards Trixie and grins so wide her nose crinkles, before taking on the stoic, more professional mein again.

But she couldn't quite chase away the smile at the edge of her lips, that was for darn sure.
Prestige William Caldwell Caldwell finishes helping the woman to her feet and smiles at her "I don't mind in the slightest, might be better if I paid more attention to where I was going though, eh?" he nods his head quickly to Beverly, continuing to smile as he briskly walks up to the stage and smiles down at Wesker as he takes Weskers hand and shakes it fiercly, waiting to be told to go on before heading off to receive his certification, badge, and M92F. He stands stupidly on the stage, looking around as if unsure whether to get off or not. He looks over to Wesker for some sort of social que.
Hunni      Fortunately, it seems Hunni is capable of walking in her heels. Good, because face-planting on stage in front of the crowd, the chief and the captain would not have been a great start. Taking the badge, the offered shake, and of-course, the case, she actually appears to be smiling quite genuinely as she bows her head in thanks. When she moves off-stage? That case his hugged gently to her chest like it were something precious.
Albert Wesker Wesker exchanges both the rewards and brief words with the S.T.A.R.S members, as well, a firm handshake and warm smile for each. Caldwell's shellshock is addressed with a gentle murmur and subtle nudge, herding the young officer and his prize off so the next can collect theirs-- but who can really blame him? Everyone was a bit addled by the amazing moment of receiving their own Samurai Edge.

"The best Christmas present Raccoon City could ask for are young officers like yourselves dedicated to the ideals and mandates of your office. To the preservation of law and the protection of all within our society-- great or small, rich or poor. In this time of celebration we find even more to celebrate; in this time of giving we find civil servants who are a cut above." A gesture indicates the collection of officers, old and new.

"Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you for coming out tonight to support this department and honor our best and brightest. For your gracious donations-- both those already finalized and those yet to come. Tonight, would be best." Wesker shoots the crowd a winning smile with the deadpan delivery, to no shortage of chuckling. "Eat, drink, and be merry-- and be sure to hassle Santa with all your heart's desires!" Wesker toasts the crowd, and leads a finalizing round of applause himself.
Jill Valentine Jill and the others at her table stand and clap for the new S.T.A.R.S. members, the formation of the other teams a bit unsettling to her. Why did Raccoon City even NEED two Elite Tactical Teams, let alone four?

Even though some of the faces taking the stage were not much younger than her, she couldn't feel that some of them; like Rebecca Chambers looked a little too young. She swore she had been reading about the 'child prodigy' who got her degree at 18 and couldn't imagine tactical training had fit into that.

Chris grinned a little and patted Jill on the arm when he was finished clapping, "Don't feel left out Jill, you've still got the Captain and Barry to keep you company in Alpha."
Trixie Trixie can't stop smiling, in spite of her blush; she might need surgery for that after this is all over. She grins at her fellow new officers as the applause breaks out, chuckling at Wesker's jokes, and shares a wide grin with Rebecca, who was such a good friend to her during the tense days before the results came out. It's been a good night for her, after a long, bad year.
"I need someplace safe to put these, because I /so/ feel like dancing," she murmurs, glancing at Rebecca and William in turn. "All night. I could just burst right now."
Rebecca Chambers In Rebecca's eyes, Wesker was an excellent speaker. So his toasts, his words - they only cause her smile to spark brighter - threatening to burst alongside Trixie there. Letting her eyes catch Jill's at the (much) elder member's table, Rebecca flashes the elder woman a smile. No doubt Jill was a hero of a sort - and Rebecca was happy for her as well.

"I don't think they even /have/ dancing here," says Rebecca. "Well, except the policeman's ball, but isn't that later in the year?" she asks, kinda bringing up a hand to scratch the tip of her nose.

But Becca - makeup, diamond star earrings and all - was starting to drift towards the food - managing to snag a plate and glass of the stuff. Waving a hand over towards Barry, Rebecca calls out towards him, and Jill. "Hey - you guys want me to bring you anything? They have... little... cream puffs? Amazing!"
Hunni      Hunni might have turned up date-less, but she didn't walk away empty-handed. As the proceedings begin to fade down to more relaxed celebration the STARS sniper begins to head for a dignified exit now that attention wasn't really on her.

     She might not feel like dancing, but she certainly felt like taking her 'present' out for a test-fire.
Prestige William Caldwell Caldwell begins to scuttle off after being directed by Wesker. BOY did he feel dumb. But at least now he was a member of STARS, that was worth something, right?! So cool! He waits for Wesker to finish his speech and cheers along with him. Looking over at the new recruits and waving at each of them, giving them each a toothy smile. Caldwell then scuttles off towards the food. He was hungry! He also went to take a little looky loo at the drink table, soda sounded good too right about now!
Albert Wesker In the aftermath of his final toast, Wesker leaves the stage and surrenders the P/A system back to the musicians, at long last. The Captain's first stop is the cluster of grinning officers, "Good work, all of you." He reiterates, appending with a wry half a grin, "Times like this, there's always room for dancing." And it's just that pursuit the Commander turns to as the music kicks back up and the party moves fully from formalities, and hey, when in Rome....

There's really enough irony in Wesker's (very, very confidential) assessment that Raccoon City's hazardous response assets are terrifically -understaffed- juxtaposed to others' concern at the -overstaffing- to make it worth noting here. For the moment, however, there is much partying.
Barry Burton     The Crowd continues to applaud as the new RPD recruits and the members of STARS remain on stage as Wesker to concludes their inauguration into their new positions.
    As Trixie makes her way off of the stage, another elf approaches her, "Excuse me, miss though this is from Santa." and presenting her with another present, this one much bigger than the last.

    The night continues on for a good while longer. The people involved: guests, staff, and members of the Raccoon Police Department reign in the coming Christmas of 2004 with a holiday cheer, some with dancing. Santa passes out the remaining presents to the guests who visit him.
    Meanwhile, new faces done the badge of the force, while others move on to bigger and better positions. Senior members obviously watch with pride and concern of the new blood before them. Where will they find their nitch? How will they progress? What will they accomplish?


    However, the questions remain endless and yet, each of them begin to find comfort in the being in the moment, being with one another.

    That being said, they are not the only ones involved in this evening. Some unintentional guests have made their appearance. Some with some malicious intent, others with more acts of kindness in their hearts.
    After all, not all legends may start out with the best of endings but perhaps they can grow into something more as the years progress over time.

So, on this night in December of 2004, cherish those around you. Enjoy the company of friends and family alike, celebrate in the moment, cause you do not know what the following year might bring.

With that being said, in the words of a whispering young lad and many other voices,

        "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

Also, don't forget Sandwich Day 2005 and have a wonderful: Outbreak.
Jill Valentine "We could use a few more beers." Jill replied to Rebecca, although she wasn't sure that the younger newly minted S.T.A.R.S. Officer could even order them from the bar for the group; how did they start recruiting eighteen year olds?

The beer thing was serious though, but Chris Redfield being an awesome guy saves Rebecca any embarrassment and declares, "I'll grab the next round." He knew all about Rebecca cause she was going to be serving under him and he was super nice.
Trixie "Bon appetit," Trixie calls softly after some of her new teammates as they move off to the tables after food. She looks after them with a soft smile, pride in her eyes. Her teammates. It was a wonderful feeling, to be part of a group of people like them.
Her moment of pride is interrupted by the approach of another elf. "Oh... thank you so much. I'll have to thank him for it, definitely," she says warmly, with a smile to match, as she accepts the larger package. It's curiously flat, she thinks. "Merry Christmas to you." Carefully she tears back the wrappings to look inside...
A nearly pristine vinyl album from 1969 is inside. Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline'. Her father's favorite song...
And ghostly whispers fill her ears as tears begin to sting her eyes. "Thank you, Santa..." she whispers, momentarily overwhelmed by too many emotions to put names to. For a moment she could almost feel her mother's arms around her, her father's hand on her shoulder...
"Are you all right, Miss?" asks a soft voice. Trixie looks around into Beverly's pretty and concerned face.
"I... I am, yes," she says softly, blinking away the tears. "Actually, I haven't felt this good in a long time. Thank you so much for caring. Um..." She blushes a little, but forces the question out. "Would you like to dance?"
She is pleasantly surprised when Beverly agrees. And hopes this night will never end, since it seems to only get better with each passing moment. Maybe she'll dance with half the guests before the night is out. She just hopes her new teammates have strong stomachs, since she enjoyed those swing dancing classes a little too much back in high school...